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Alumni in Action
Alumni Spotlight: Grayson Mack
What is your current job title?
Content Strategist for Google
Describe your current position.
At a high level, I own the content strategy across the support ecosystems for Google Photos, Google Duo, and Android Messages. This means that any time a user encounters an issue with one of my products, such as wanting to learn more about a feature, troubleshoot an issue, or get in contact with one of our support agents - I've given them the tools and information they need to do it.
To what extent does writing relate to your current
position?/What type of writing/design do you do for work?
I use writing every day to do my job; mostly, I use it to write project docs, proposals, team communications, and instructions for the writing team to execute projects. I design a lot of experiments, including defining the problem we’d like to solve, the experiment acceptance criteria (how to set up the experiment), the goals of it, and the next steps.
Briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to your
For context, my title trajectory is as follows: Knowledge Management Writer intern --> Technical Writer ---> Senior Information Developer / UX Writer--- > Content Manager ---> Content Strategist.
Overall, how I've landed in this role is my ability to understand a business (or product's) goals and user needs. Then, I develop content strategies to help meet those goals while improving the user experience. So, it's important to see the big picture of a business strategy but balance those motivations with your end user needs. Sometimes what a business needs at the moment is not the same as what an end user needs. And the work I do is really about helping the user succeed, and then showing the business how that helps them meet their needs in quick, efficient, and scalable ways. Beyond that, when I have the time, I look for work beyond my written job description to see how else I can make impact for an organization, group of people, product, etc.
And as an extra aside, I have worked in predominantly male cross-functional teams. I've often been the only woman/person of color in a meeting. I've learned how to advocate for myself, my ideas, and my impact, and find others who will help advocate on behalf when I'm not in the room. I think that's been a large part in how I've landed in this position as well.
What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on
you as a professional?
1) Understand how to translate classroom experience into demonstrated skills/stories to put onto my resume or speak to during interviews.
I believe that I approached and treated school the same way I do with any full-time job. When you're working on projects, attending class--put in the work and effort. And document it! Save your projects, screenshot work, jot down notes about the challenges of an assignment and how you overcame them. And I know that sometimes life circumstances can take priority over this step, but when you are able to, really commit.
2) Take relevant internships to anything related to
content/writing. And if you can't, use whatever job or internship
you have to stretch transferrable skills.
With a whole lot of privilege, a dash of skill and luck, my three paying jobs my last two years of university were focused on writing. I completed two editorial internships on campus and worked as a Writing Consultant. Unpaid, but for the experience, I was a poetry editor for fishladder. This was my entire résumé as I started full-time job hunting. For those that can't have a similar graduating résumé, I suggest using whatever work you have (including classroom work) and focusing on growing your skillset in communication, collaboration, documentation, leadership, inclusivity, problem solving, etc. Those are the skills workplaces need, regardless if you learned that through working in a restaurant or on a magazine.
3) Learn the workplace through studying job descriptions and titles.
This is pretty self-explanatory. I researched and studied the field of work I was interested in and understood what those companies were looking for. I aligned my experience and skills to those job descriptions to illustrate that I could do the work.
What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors
at Grand Valley?
See question above and talk to people in the industries you're interested in, if you can. Take them out to coffee and learn from them, ask them thoughtful questions, tell them specifically where you need advice and guidance.
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